MEMPHIS, Tennessee (WREG) - For three years, one Memphis couple has tried to rescue dog after dog, found dumped on the side of the railroad tracks just across from their front yard.
They often hear whimpering, which can lead them to a trash bag full of puppies, fighting for their lives.
“We find puppies all the time, plastic bags wrapped up. And we’re animal lovers, and we go retrieve them, but yet they die on us,” Teresa Shelton told WREG-TV's Natasha Chen.
On Wednesday, the couple found a stray puppy, severely dehydrated, later died in the front yard.
“We brought her back, we gave her food, and tried to give her food. She wouldn’t eat,” said Shleton.
Since Wednesday, the couple found another puppy of the same breed, in the same location. That puppy is in better shape, so she’s become the newest member of their family.
Harold and Teresa Shelton constantly find deer carcasses, headless goats, dogs, and rats carelessly tossed in the tall grass as if it were some sort of strange landfill.
The Sheltons have called Animal Control, Memphis police, and the city of Memphis for help. But the city has told them and WREG-TV that the grassy property belongs to CSX Railroad.
CSX Railroad was not available for comment on Friday.
Still, a city spokesperson said the public works department will help clear the area up to the tree line.
“Most of them have been dead. We’ve found a few like this one here, when I found alive, I just – I’m fed up with it," said Harold Shelton.
He said sometimes he even takes them to overnight emergency clinics that cost him $200 or $300, only to have them die soon after.
Additionally, Shelton said by the looks of some of the dogs, they may have been used in dog-fighting rings.
The Sheltons sometimes see people pull up in their trucks to dump animals in that area at night.
“They open up their doors and they get in the back of their trucks, and they’re throwing. Steadily throwing,” said Teresa Shelton.
The Sheltons yell at them, but it’s hard to see who it is or get their tag numbers.
The couple is heartbroken at each suffering animal and also frustrated with the lack of help in solving the problem. They are even considering installing a camera to catch the culprits.
“We will take care of these animals. Please don’t drop them off and throw them over there in a ditch,” Teresa Shelton said.
Until the situation improves, she said she has gotten used to crying over the dead puppies, but that she will not give up trying to nurse the other little ones back to health.